Originally created 08/08/06

Chipper might return within next two weeks



ATLANTA - With his left side healing, Chipper Jones is likely a week or so away from returning to Atlanta's lineup. But will it be too late?

With the Braves teetering on the fringe of the playoff chase, Jones said he thinks the time he has missed has been more crucial than any of his other recent stints on the disabled list.

From the time he first sustained the strained oblique, July 21 in Philadelphia, through Sunday, the Braves were 5-7 with Jones out. He hit .512 in a 20-game hitting streak prior to the injury.

"We need to be at full strength," said Jones, who could return as early as Sunday. "This is the time of year when we need to be playing good. ... It's hard to sit back and watch."

SAME OUTCOME: Turns out, the Braves had until 1 p.m. Monday - not Saturday - to negotiate a trade involving center fielder Andruw Jones with the unnamed team that claimed him from the waiver wire this past Thursday, a source said.

In any case, Jones is still a Brave through at least the end of the season.

WELCOME, LEFTY: New reliever Wayne Franklin admitted Monday that when the Braves added Danys Baez and Bob Wickman to bolster their bullpen, he thought his shot at a promotion to the big leagues was shot.

"I was just working hard for September," he said of his time with Class AAA Richmond, "thinking they'd have a couple of spots (with an expanded roster)."

But with Jason Shiell struggling as the team's fifth starter, the left-handed Franklin got the call to back up Macay McBride.

Reach R. Travis Haney at travis.haney@morris.com.